Please welcome Lucy J. Madison, author of A Recipe of Love.
The Culinary Wordsmith: How Cooking and Writing are Similar
I’m often asked in interviews what else I would do with my life if I wasn’t a writer. After spending fifteen years in higher education marketing and public relations, I definitely wouldn’t go back to that career! Over the years, I have toyed with the idea of attending culinary school–the Italian Culinary Institute, to be specific. So, if I wasn’t a writer, I’d probably be a chef!
Truthfully, the two pursuits are more similar than you think. To me, writing a good story is all about variety. No one wants to read the same thing over and over again. It’s the same with food. I know we all have our go-to food favorites, but who wants to eat the same exact meal morning, noon, and night? Ask your pet. They’ll tell you the same thing in their own inimitable way.
A colorful sentence stands out. It makes a reader connect more fully to the story. Crisp phrasing, or unique compositions promote a more enjoyable reading experience. My job as a writer is to keep the reader interested, engaged, and excited to turn the page. My job in the kitchen, when you come to my place for one of our laid-back dinner parties, is to prepare food so good, you ask for seconds, or even thirds.
Good meals are remembered well. So are good books.
When I write a novel, I sift through many different ingredients like tone, character, setting, tense, and narration to build the perfect amalgamation of words that when edited, typeset, and accompanied by a great cover, form a literary meal.
I’m doing much of the same when I create a new recipe. I’m trying different spices and ingredients to see how they fit together. If they don’t, the meal won’t taste right. It won’t satisfy, it won’t be remembered. But, if I get the recipe just right, mixing the perfect blend of seasonings, technique, and ingredients, the result can be magical.
One of the reasons why I wrote my third novel, A Recipe for Love: A Lesbian Culinary Romance (Labrador Publishing 2018), was to tell a story that centered on food, and on cooking it. Growing up in a predominantly Italian household, food–the growing, making, and eating of it–was hugely important in my life. No seminal moment passed without a celebration that included food and wine, decadent desserts, and espresso. Every holiday of my life has been spent sitting around a huge table listening to the older members tell stories I’ve probably heard a thousand times but wait for each and every time.
So, the next time you relish eating a good meal, or reading an exceptional book, remember the cooks in the kitchen, and the writers at their desks, all slaving away to concoct a recipe for you to love.
Piermont, New York. Danika Russo is 55, newly retired from a 30-year career as a mail carrier, and stuck in a rut. After putting her own needs on hold to care for her terminally ill partner and her unloving father, Danika is holed up the childhood home she inherited, a claustrophobic time warp from the 1970s complete with brown Formica and linoleum, and not sure what to do next.
Her best friend Natalie suggests making a list of things she has always wanted to do. Stepping outside her comfort zone, self-deprecating Danika opts for taking an Italian cooking class, not knowing that she will both impress the appreciative chef with her tasting skills and meet a mysterious younger woman there, Finn Gerard, who will capture her heart and teach her the recipe for love. But Finn is withholding a grim secret and, despite her initial passion, appears unable to commit to Danika fully. Will Danika allow herself to let go and fall in love for the first time in her life, even if there are no guarantees? Even if she must learn to let go?
This complex lesbian romance touches on themes of rediscovery and transformation, showing that while love can be the answer, real healing always starts from within.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Lucy J. Madison is an author, screenwriter, and home-cook who may still attend culinary school, so she can own a supper club in Provincetown one day. She’s at work on her fifth novel when she’s not in the kitchen. A Recipe for Love: A Lesbian Culinary Romance is available on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and at Bella Books.
CONNECT WITH LUCY J. MADISON
Thanks so much for stopping by today.